Opinion

Militia in Guise of Unity Government

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman
Meged Gozani

A single Knesset member, Yulia Malinovsky from Yisrael Beiteinu, has saved Israel’s “democracy.” Her finger in the dam held back the flood. This unknown member of the Knesset committee that brings bills to the plenary acted in the spirit of her boss, Avigdor Lieberman, who declared that he would not allow “Netanyahu’s private militia” to monitor the election. (For the latest election polls - click here)

When it comes to fighting militias, there is no one like Lieberman, who has already made it clear that the state’s future will depend on the establishment of a unity government, and that anyone who opposes this will not have his support. Public opinion polls are on his side. They forecast at least 10 Knesset seats for his party, enabling him to tip the balance and hold a whip over other parties, with which he’ll determine who the next prime minister and cabinet members will be. Who would have believed that Lieberman of all people would become a model democrat, the one who’s saving Israel from extortion and extortionists, the one who sees to it that Israel is a glorious Jewish state, with no Arabs or ultra-Orthodox, the only politician who can determine the image of this country?

But know this: The formation of a unity government will not sate Lieberman’s political appetite. He will have a veto on the details of coalition negotiations, he’ll determine the fate of the nation-state law, the character of the school system and the extent of funds allocated to health and welfare services. Lieberman will dictate “red lines” in the war against Hamas and Iran, even if he’s not the minister of defense. He will hold the levers of any diplomatic process, if it’s ever resuscitated.

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Insofar as it’s up to him, these conditions will be formulated in small and large print, meticulously and with precision, from the start of negotiations over the formation of a coalition. Any deviation will be met with a threat to topple the government. In exchange, he’ll grant Israel the showcase of a brotherly “unity government,” consisting of right and extreme right, center and center-right, everyone swimming in a thick nationalist, patriotic Jewish gravy, under the imaginary leadership of a person accused of criminal wrongdoing, managed from behind the scenes by the real director of this puppet show, Avigdor Lieberman.

What a wonderful charade of Israeli consensus such a government will be. Who could overcome it? No international pressure could shake such a coalition agreement and the fear of its dissolution. World leaders will come in droves to witness the miracle of the resurgence of the united Jewish nation. In remote corners of this country some whimpering will be heard, voiced by the crumbs of opposition that remain after this cosmic fusion, but these will only serve as a fig leaf that displays the “democratic” nature of this country. After all, there were free, videotaped elections, transparent and monitored. The public has expressed its will, it’s dying for unity, the unity government will say.

But the “public” isn’t dreaming of voting for a national unity government, which will serve as a militia guided by Lieberman. Many of those casting their votes for Kahol Lavan will do so despite the absence of ideas presented by this hollow party. They only wish to remove Netanyahu from the political arena, but not at the cost of crowning Lieberman. It’s true: Opinion polls indicate that there is no alternative, that a unity government is necessary, otherwise there will be no government and we may have to face another round of elections, ad infinitum.

But this is just the reason to rebel against the dictates of the polls. If voters are doomed to abandon voting on ideological grounds, swallowing and gritting their teeth nonstop, they must give their votes to only one party, one that could garner enough votes to fulfill a single promise: removing Netanyahu. Without a unity government, without the ultra-Orthodox, perhaps with Lieberman-lite – lean, modest and hungry.

This temptation now faces many Likud supporters who still believe their party represents some ideology and who see Netanyahu as a disgrace to their name, casting a blemish on their party. They have an alternative in Kahol Lavan.